Poems by Juditha Dowd

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We'll Cross that Bridge ...

by Juditha Dowd

From Canary Summer 2017

Juditha lives in Delaware Township, New Jersey, near the river of the same name in the Middle Delaware-Musconetcong watershed.

Finally the sun. Perfect day to walk the Wickacheoke Creek, trees spring green and copperheads still slumbering under their rocks. But the Weather Channel wants me worrying about the earthquakes down in Ecuador. One world, get used to it … Look at the creek bank, those signs protesting a pipeline that would transport natural gas.

Another Fracking Land Grab!

You do NOT have permission to survey My Land!

They’ve targeted good farmland, acres we’ve protected with donations and tax dollars, parcels that will cost less because they’ve been preserved. Locals talk of eminent domain … Over there, where Hurricane Sandy downed five oaks, skunk cabbage takes advantage of the rain. Can’t stop progress. Now where’s the swan? Not in this eddy where I often find her swimming, where the pipeline’s route is defined by yellow crime tape … Time to recheck the weather, get an update on the fires ravaging Alberta. Fire counts as weather now. Just last week one took the Rosemont Café. Nobody knew how to work the extinguishers, not the café owner or his three upstairs tenants who lost everything. Well, not their lives. This isn’t Zimbabwe, not yet. We have no hydrants here in Rosemont, so firemen had to tap the Wickachoeke, challenged by some hikers asking Isn’t that against the law? … If we come to it, cross that bridge, where will the snakes and birds go?

What, Where?

by Juditha Dowd

From Canary Winter 2012-13

Audubon toted paper for his drawings,
tools and preservatives to keep the skins.
He posed his endless questions to the earth—
estuary’s muck and distant mountain—
where he’d daily wander fifty miles or more
in moccasins, his gun across his shoulder.

Today we run our marathons in spandex,
our shoes are the handiwork of engineers,
and the remnant wilderness is wholly owned.
Gone, the profusion that lit his waking dreams:
Forty beavers glistening in their winter coats,
the sandhill cranes a river in the sky.

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